Here’s my experiences writing my memoir Hangry, about starting GrubHub and running it through the IPO, before punting it all and riding my bike across the United States. The book should hit bookshelves in early 2022. But, there’s a long journey from appetizer to dessert, and I’m sharing some of that here.
My memoir, Hangry is about this whole “Create a billion dollar startup, and then punt it to go for a bike ride” thing. Sign up here to get a preorder link and get monthly updates on my publishing journey.
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What is Hangry?
It’s my book. The book is about a journey, creating a startup, running it through an IPO, and then leaving it behind to ride into the sunset. (Literally. On my bike.)
Why a book?
Good question. I’m glad you asked. (I know, you didn’t ask. This is a rhetorical technique. See. Fancy writer. Boom.)
Turns out, publishing a book is pretty much the worst paid, biggest headache, most challenging effort that I have ever undertaken. It is, without exaggeration, harder than starting a multi-billion dollar business. So, why am I doing this? When it comes down to it, I have something important to say, and, I can say it in an amusing and interesting way.
When people think of me (if they think of me), they might think of my startup, Fixer. We’re a handyperson service with a goal to reboot trade education. Or maybe they think of the first company I founded, GrubHub. Creating that first company from scratch was a pretty uncommon experience. Running it all the way to the IPO, perhaps more rare. Punting it all to go on a bike ride might be unique.
That’s all fun, and probably interesting enough to write a book. But that’s not why I wrote a book. I wrote it because I have something important to say. The thing that I have to say is this:
That’s pretty much the message of Hangry. So, save yourself a bunch of reading, and go ahead and unsubscribe if you’d like to just take that and run with it. Otherwise, hang on, because over the next year or so, you’ll get a dozen emails elaborating on this theme, culminating in a (hopefully bestselling) memoir. Let’s get to it, and expand on this theme.
- Vision matters.
- A personal vision matters.
- A personal vision matters, but is hard.
- A personal vision matters, but is hard, but that’s OK, because hard things have big rewards.
- A personal vision matters, but is hard, but that’s OK, because hard things have big rewards, and vision makes hard things easy.
If that was all, the book would be pretty boring. So, there’s a lot of this too:
- Startups are insane. They’re fun, too. Same with my cross country bike trip.
What’s the status?
December and January swept past in an insane writing frenzy. Also, COVID, homeschooling, hard drive failure, and an insurrection. So, that was fun. I turned in the first draft to my publisher a week ago. I haven’t heard anything back yet. This means one of two things:
1) They haven’t finished reading it yet; or
2) They finished reading it, and thought it was terrible.
Rationally, I recognize the first possibility is the likely scenario. My brain, of course, is trying to utterly reject this notion, so I fixate on the second possibility. Assuming my rational thinking wins the day, the next steps in the process will be revisions, line edits, cover design, layout, and then a sales campaign headed towards early 2022. Woohoo!
The creation of Hangry continues. When last I updated, I had just submitted my first full manuscript to the publisher. I ticked down the days waiting for a response, trying to keep my overactive imagination from assuming that they hated it, and would be letting my agent know at any moment that they’d reconsidered my contract. But, that’s not what happened.
They liked it.
But, they didn’t love it.
“It’s fine,” they said. “Just, fine.”
So, I found myself with a choice. Move forward with the publishing with a solid B+ book, get my 4.1 stars on Goodreads and call it a day. Or, go back to the drawing board and start a serious round of edits.
Not really a choice, honestly.
The new version is moving towards interweaving the GrubHub and bike journey stories, rather than presenting them sequentially. Also, by mixing together the two things, I can get a little more raw about the GrubHub experience, and then bring the reader along on the bike journey to relieve some of the tension through the beatuy of the American people and landscape. You know, creating a kind of emotional whipsaw. Muahahahahaaaa.
So, I’m hard at work again, reframing the manuscript. Hopefully another two months will see the new draft submitted and I’ll be that much closer to having a publication date.